OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder’s new Big Three looked ready to do big things in their first action together.
Fans got their first chance to see reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony play together since the Thunder acquired George and Anthony in trades. They were dominant in Oklahoma City’s 102-91 win over New Orleans on Friday night.
Westbrook played for the first time this preseason after getting a platelet rich plasma injection in his knee. He missed the team’s Blue-White scrimmage and the preseason opener against Houston in Tulsa on Monday. He finished with nine points, four assists and one rebound in 9:58 before coming out for good late in the first quarter. Westbrook has said that he is fine and the injection is something he does each year, but he did it later than usual this year because he spent a lot of time at home focusing on his newborn son.
Now that Westbrook is back to basketball, Thunder coach Billy Donovan can start figuring out how to blend the stars’ skill sets.
"That’s the thing with Coach," George said. "He sat down with myself, sat down with Russ, Carmelo and he wants us to be ourselves. He wants us to bring what makes us so special. Just do it within the confinements of this team. That’s what’s going to make the game easier for everybody."
George scored 25 points in just over 27 minutes and Anthony added nine points and six rebounds.
George said he’s still adjusting to Westbrook’s speed, mentally and physically.
"We joke about it — how to run a fastbreak, because he is just so fast," George said. "About the time you catch it, your feet is all messed up trying to catch up to him. It’s going to be an adjustment, but again, you got a guy to put that much pressure on defence, you know it’s going to make the game so much easier for me. So my job is the easy part. It’s just to finish those plays for him."
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 14 points and seven rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins scored 13 points and Ian Clark and Jrue Holiday each scored 11.
WIZARDS 104, KNICKS 100
John Wall scored 19 points, knocking down 9 of 14 shots in just under 24 minutes in Washington’s preseason home win. Kelly Oubre scored 14 points and Bradley Beal added 13 for the Wizards.
Enes Kanter, a centre New York acquired in the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, led the Knicks with 16 points. He made 6 of 11 shots.
WASHINGTON: The Wizards shot 47 per cent as Beal and Wall combined to make 15 of 25 shots.
NEW YORK: Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 15 points, Courtney Lee scored 12 and Jarrett Jack added 11. … Joakim Noah played just 12 minutes as a reserve. … The Knicks outrebounded the Wizards 46-36.
UP NEXT: The Wizards (2-0) host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. The Knicks (0-2) host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
CELTICS 110, 76ERS 102
Kyrie Irving scored 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting as Boston won at Philadelphia. Irving also had three assists in just under 25 minutes. Terry Rozier scored 13 points and Aron Baynes added 12 for the Celtics.
Jerryd Bayless scored 15 points and J.J. Redick added 12 for the 76ers.
BOSTON: New addition Gordon Hayward scored nine points on 4-for-9 shooting. … Al Horford scored just seven points, but he had nine rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes. … Marcus Smart scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
PHILADELPHIA: Ben Simmons did a little of everything. He finished with eight points, five assists and three rebounds in just under 23 minutes. … Rookie Markelle Fultz did not play because of shoulder soreness, and Joel Embiid sat out with a right knee injury.
UP NEXT: The 76ers (0-2) and the Celtics (2-0) square off again Monday in Boston.
PACERS 106, CAVALIERS 102
TJ Leaf scored 18 points, Domantas Sabonis added 17 and Indiana won at Cleveland as LeBron James missed his second straight preseason game. James hurt his ankle last week, but has been practicing. Dwyane Wade led Cleveland with 20 points and Jae Crowder added 17.
INDIANA: Victor Oladipo, who was acquired in the deal that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City, scored 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting and had five assists.
CLEVELAND: Derrick Rose scored 15 points and Kevin Love added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.
UP NEXT: The Pacers (2-0) play at Detroit on Monday. The Cavaliers (0-2) play at Washington on Sunday.
PISTONS 109, HAWKS 87
Avery Bradley scored 18 points, Tobias Harris added 17 and Detroit beat Atlanta in a home preseason game. Henry Ellenson added 16 points for the Pistons.
Malcolm Delaney scored 15 points and Taurean Prince and John Collins each added 10 for the Hawks.
DETROIT: The Pistons shot 48.9 per cent from the field. … Ish Smith scored 15 points, Anthony Tolliver scored 13 and Stanley Johnson added 10.
ALTANTA: The Hawks shot just 36.5 per cent and were outrebounded 57-37. … Only three players reached double figures.
UP NEXT: The Pistons (1-1) will host the Indiana Pacers on Monday. The Hawks (1-2) will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
BULLS 114, BUCKS 101
Justin Holiday scored 21 points and Denzel Valentine, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis each added 15 to help Chicago win a preseason home game. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points and Khris Middleton added 14 for Milwaukee.
CHICAGO: The Bulls bounced back from a 118-71 loss to Dallas on Wednesday. … Chicago got 12 points from Robin Lopez and 11 from Kris Dunn. … The Bulls shot 51.8 per cent from the field and made 17 of 34 3-pointers. … Portis had 10 rebounds and Mirotic had seven.
MILWAUKEE: Antetokounmpo was his usual dominant self. He made 7 of 10 field goals and 9 of 13 free throws. … Greg Monroe scored 10 points. … The Bucks made just 9 of 28 3-pointers and were outrebounded 42-36.
UP NEXT: The Bulls (2-1) host the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. The Bucks (0-3) host the Detroit Pistons on Friday.